ESPN taps 3G Wireless for pointer-free wireless RF during Senior Skins

By Ken Kerschbaumer

ESPN recently made use of a new wireless video transmission system from 3G wireless that does not require a second crew member to be tethered to the cameraperson and ensure that the signal hits the line-of-sight transmission link. Instead the system is “pointer-less” and allowed three camerapeople at the Senior Skins golf tournament in Maui to freely roam the course.

“The Nucomm transmitter was mounted directly on the back of the camera, giving the cameraman the flexibility to walk anywhere on the course and still deliver pictures,” says Adam Nepp, 3G Wireless marketing and development. “We offered complete course coverage with no more than one crane and an additional ground-based transmission site.” 3G also handled 21 channels of audio for player and talent mics.

The technology, built by Nucomm, includes the Campac2 transmitter and the Newscaster DR receiver for an SD and HD link and can deliver 720p with a delay of 7 milliseconds. For pockets on a course where terrain could cause drops in RF signal strength receive sites can be added.

“It works similarly to the way a cellular system works, with overlaps in coverage among the receive sites,” says Nepp. Each receive site has a range of about half-a-mile so a golf course can be covered with two to four receive sites that are mounted to existing camera towers. Cameras can automatically switch between receive sites to find the highest signal strength.

“Because this is digital we don’t need line of site,” he adds. By not requiring cranes it does more than just save expense: it also cuts down on potential interference as cranes 200 feet in the air typically suck in everything from local TV signals to taxi and limo driver communications.

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